Maintain hope in research while coping with dialysis

While coping with the day-to-day life of being on dialysis, I keep my chin up by following the progression of Kidney Project, a research effort that lends hope to the thousands upon thousands of us tethered with end stage renal disease.

Just how much hope that someday many of us may be able to rid ourselves of dialysis altogether is yet to be determined. Any hope at all for many of us, though, makes treatment days at a mundane dialysis center that more tolerable.

For now, the measure of this hope is in the hands of those who are working in collaboration to create an implantable bioartificial kidney that likely will alter the lives of ESRD patients. When the day comes that turns hope into reality will no doubt vastly impact the renal disease industry.

In my recent book – Dialing in on DI-AL-Y-SIS – I devoted a chapter toward several areas beyond current traditional treatment options that might provide needed hope for renal disease patients. Kidney Project was one research effort that offered some in-depth information.

Until that time comes when an implantable artificial kidney truly becomes a reality, there is a place to go on the internet for timely updates – www.facebook.com/ArtificialKidney. A most recent posting (January 30) reports on the status of Kidney Project’s preclinical testing. It states:

“The Kidney Project is (in the midst of) transitioning out of preclinical testing for the Hemofilter, while preclinical testing for the Bioreactor is underway. Results from preclinical testing of the Hemofilter are encouraging. We have successfully implanted the Hemofilter component into large animal models for up to 1 month. The animals responded well, without serious complications. We have collected enough preclinical data to apply for our first clinical trial and are waiting for approval for our first application.”

A post a week earlier addressed how the bioartificial kidney device works, and how big the device really is.

“The bioartificial kidney, the size of a coffee cup, consists of two modules that work together to get rid of wastes. First, a hemofilter module processes incoming blood to create a watery ultrafiltrate that contains dissolved toxins as well as sugars and salts. Second, a bioreactor of kidney cells processes the ultrafiltrate and sends the sugars and salts back into the blood. In the process, water is also reabsorbed back into the body, concentrating the ultrafiltrate into “urine,” which will be directed to the bladder for excretion.”

In May of 2017, the project’s two front-line doctors – Dr. Shuvo Roy of University at California San Francisco and William Fissell at Vanderbilt University – were quoted on how the success of Kidney Project can carry such an impact.

Said Dr. Roy: “Our goal is to eliminate the burdens of dialysis by providing an implantable device that provides both the clearance and biological functions of a kidney.”

Stated Dr. Fissell: “The project is about creating a permanent solution to the scarcity problem in organ transplantation. We are increasing the options for people with chronic kidney disease who would otherwise be forced into dialysis.”

Whenever the hope of Kidney Project becomes a reality, the materialization of such a breakthrough has been promised help by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The FDA has selected Kidney Project to a new regulatory approval program called Expedited Access Pathway. EAP is intended to bring breakthrough medical device technologies to patients faster and more efficiently.

From the viewpoint of we treatment patients, Kidney Project success can come as soon as tomorrow.